Loffreda sets challenge for Tigers

Leicester boss Marcelo Loffreda has set his team a target of three successive victories in their quest to reach the Premiership play-offs. [more]

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Leicester boss Marcelo Loffreda has set his team a target of three successive victories in their quest to reach the Premiership play-offs.

The Tigers saw their hopes of a top-four finish dented by a 26-12 defeat against title rivals Bath at the Recreation Ground.

Leicester have now dropped into sixth place, and Loffreda knows there can be no further slip-ups in remaining Premiership fixtures against Bristol, Newcastle and Harlequins.

Loffreda said: "There is no doubt that we have to win our last three games to have a chance of the play-offs.

"But we are thinking in a positive way and we now look forward to the Bristol game on Saturday. All the games are massive now."

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Loffreda made 14 changes from the side that lost last Saturday’s Anglo-Welsh Cup final against the Ospreys at Twickenham, and the Tigers were mauled in the first half as Bath scored tries by prop Matt Stevens, hooker Lee Mears and wing Matt Banahan, his ninth Premiership touchdown of the season.

But at 23-0 ahead at half-time, Bath failed to build on that commanding advantage in the second period, conceding consolation tries to Leicester fly-half Ian Humphreys and substitute Frank Murphy.

Loffreda added: "The first half was a big disappointment for us.

"Bath were very good. They played with a lot of efficiency, and we couldn’t stop their momentum."

While Leicester moved down the table, Bath climbed into second spot to remain on course not only for the play-offs, but also a home tie.

Bath head coach Steve Meehan said: "I thought we played some great rugby in the first half.

"The skill level of this team has improved enormously, and I really thought some of the rugby we played was breathtaking.

"If you are going to be ultra critical, you will look at the fact we didn’t get a bonus point, but Leicester have got a very good defensive record and we should be quite proud of the way we attacked and the amount of pressure we put on them.

"With this competition structured the way it is, you can never be sure about something like the play-offs until you are actually there, but if we can take the confidence of the first half tonight and the tempo of that performance to Worcester on Saturday then it will be important in what is a very big match for us."

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